It was late. The parking lot outside the Redlands chapel only contained a single car and in the chapel a single window remained lit. In his office, Bishop Clah sat at his desk writing notes from his last appointment when from his door came a whistle. Glancing toward the door, his eyes narrowed. Silence fell again and he returned to his notes.
After another minute or more the door whistled again as though a strong wind was blowing through the hall outside. This time Bishop Clah set down his pen and looked intently at the door then at his watch. “Brother Neilson locked up an hour ago,” he said to himself. In a passing thought he wondered where such a wind could come from since it was a calm evening, or at least it was when he had come to the office earlier.
Something pushed hard against the door and the whistle rose in pitch. As Bishop Clah rose from his chair he noticed fine dirt and sediment leaking in around the door frame. His mind did not have enough time to theorize who or what could be responsible for such a mess, all he knew was that good people gave freely of their time to insure the chapel was clean and there had better be a good explanation. Another push with more dirt. His temper flared and he leapt for the door.
He pulled the door wide and froze.
Maybe he had expected pranksters, or a door left open and the halls being filled by a sudden sandstorm but he certainly hadn’t expected to be staring out into a vast, wind swept plain.
Hot, dry air filled the office. He knew what this was. More than twenty years earlier, he had mysteriously wound up treading water in ancient America.
As he stood musing in the door a lone figured appeared out of the blowing sand. It was all the traveler could do to stay erect against the fierce winds that tore at his clothing. Only seconds later the tattered figure was standing in the Bishop’s office.
“I apologize for the intrusion,” said the man. “I believed this might be a cave. I can see that this is…” His voice trailed off as he looked around the room. “I have no idea what this is,” he finished.
“This is an office,” said Bishop Clah. “Mine for the time being.”
“I was hoping to get out of the storm,” said the traveler.
“You’re welcome to stay for as long as the storm last.”
“Thank you,” said the man as he shed an outer cloak, covering the floor below him in dirt. Noticing the chairs the man asked if he could sit down.
“Can I get you…” Bishop Clah glanced around the office. The closest thing to him was a candy bowl. “Something to eat?”
“What I need is your help,” replied the man. “I have lost my children. I have been searching for many days but they are nowhere to be found.”
“I will help you,” said Bishop Clah without hesitation. “But first I need to call my wife.”
Bishop Clah looked at his cell phone and was happy to see it still had reception. After a couple of rings his wife answered.
“Sweetheart,” he began. “Remember what I told you about my adventures among the Nephites? Well my office door just opened onto a desert and there’s a man here that needs my help looking for his children… Of course I’ll be careful. I just wanted you to know that if I come home looking like I’ve been gone for weeks and my new suit is destroyed, it’s not my fault… Okay, love you too.”
Bishop Clah hung up the phone and glanced around the office for anything he might want to have with him. Aside from a half-full water bottle and couple of granola bars from his desk there was nothing that would be useful — certainly a cell phone would be worthless. He put the water bottle and granola bars in his suit coat pockets and placed the phone on the desk. “Ready when you are,” he said to the stranger. “What is your name by-the-way?”
“Jared,” replied the man.